Palestine Modern History

Palestine Modern History

Until the beginning of the 20th century: in 1516 Palestine fell to the Ottoman Turks; 1831–40 occupied Mehmed Ali of Egypt Palestine. As early as the 16th century, attracted by the tolerance and dynamism of the Ottoman Empire, numerous Jewish refugees (above all from Spain) came to Palestine; Jerusalem and Safed became centers of Jewish intellectual life. Trade and textile processing formed the economic basis. At the beginning of the 18th century there was immigration from Eastern European Hasidic circles, and in the 19th century also from other Orthodox circles. Also in the 19th century a Christian missionary movement began, partly in connection with foreign trading establishments, whose consular protection increasingly directed the interests of the major European powers to the region. From 1882 (pogroms in Russia) began the increased East European Jewish Palestinian settlement, which was caused by the Zionism increased: Tel Aviv was founded in 1909, and the first kibbutzim were established in 1911.

From the Balfour Declaration to the Six Day War (1917-67): In the First World War, Great Britain conquered Palestine in the war against the Ottoman Empire in 1917/18 and secretly awarded it to both Arabs and Jews (Middle East conflict), the latter in the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, however, only as a “national home”; the declaration became one of the foundations of the British League of Nations mandate for Palestine.

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (1918), its government had to cede Palestine to Great Britain in the Peace of Sèvres (August 10, 1920), which granted this area as a mandate of the League of Nations. As early as 1921, the British government subordinated the part of Palestine east of the Jordan to the Arab dynasty of the Hashimites as the emirate of Transjordan ; However, under international law it remained part of the British mandate until 1946 and was subordinate to a British High Commissioner.

There were growing conflicts between Arabs and Jews, whose interests the Jewish Agency for Palestine, founded in 1922, protected; These conflicts culminated (from around 1929 bloody disputes) with the demand for an independent Arab state of Palestine in a – v. a. Supported by the Muslim Brotherhood – Arab Palestine Uprising (1936-39). The London conference of May 17, 1939 decided to establish an independent binational state within ten years. In contrast, on May 11, 1942, a Zionist conference in New York called for the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine (“Biltmore Program”). Having regard to their military organizations (Haganah, Irgun Zwai Leumi) the Palestinian Jews drove the establishment of a Jewish state in the 1940s; illegal Jewish immigration grew. Finally Great Britain brought the question of Palestine before the UN (April 2, 1947). Their general assembly recommended on November 29, 1947 the division of Palestine into a Jewish (14,000 km²) and an Arab state (11,100 km²) with economic unity and internationalization of Jerusalem (“Resolution 181 [II]”). This recommendation – rejected by the Arabs – led to the proclamation of the state of Israel with the withdrawal of British troops and the expiry of the British mandate (May 14th / 15th)on May 14, 1948. As a result of the 1st Israeli-Arab War (“Palestine War”, 1948/49), the area provided for under the UN partition plan for the Arab Palestinian state fell to several warring powers; Israel had considerably expanded its territory (including Galilee and Old Jerusalem) and henceforth denied the Palestinians the right to their own state. In return, the Arab states denied Israel the right to exist. The Gaza Strip came under Egyptian trust administration in 1949; the eastern part of the West Bank, militarily claimed by the Arabs since 1948(including the eastern part of Old Jerusalem; also known as the West Bank, in Israel Judea and Samaria) was incorporated into Jordan as “West Jordan” (April 23, 1950). The Arabs who fled or expelled from Israel and who have since called themselves Palestinians (between 500,000 and 900,000) gathered on the territory of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria; they are looked after by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (founded in 1949).

The struggle between Israel and the Arab states over Palestine escalated into a Middle East conflict after 1948/49. During the Six Day War, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967; Old Jerusalem was united with the previous Israeli part of the city.

PLO and “first Intifada” (1967–93 / 94): In the fight against Israel v. a. Guerrilla organizations (including Fatah) in the Palestinian refugee camps since the 1950s, and their activity increased particularly from 1967 onwards. The Palestine Liberation Organization (English abbreviation PLO) was founded in 1964; J. Arafat emerged as its central leader (from 1969 until his death in 2004 chairman of its executive board). The Israeli settlement policy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (from 1977) was heavily criticized around the world. Despite the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of March 26, 1979 (Camp David) the area of the former Palestine remained one of the most explosive crisis regions in global politics because this treaty did not change the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In December 1987 an uprising broke out by the Palestinian Arabs against the Israeli occupying power (Intifada, German for “shaking off”). In its course, the radical Hamas, which emerged from the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and is oriented towards Islamic fundamentalism, gained in importance.

After Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank to the PLO on July 31, 1988 by King Husain II, its National Council, which met in exile, proclaimed an independent state of Palestine on November 15, 1988 in Algiers (since 1995 Palestinian national holiday). With the simultaneous recognition of UN resolutions 242 and 338, the PLO National Council implicitly declared recognition of the State of Israel and its readiness for a future two-state solution. The right-wing nationalist Israeli government under Y. Shamir refused recognition by the “terrorist organization” PLO. Arafat was appointed provisional head of state in early April 1989; However, at the end of 1989 Palestine was not granted the status of an autonomous state by the UN.

Palestine Modern History

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